Unemployment soars across Northwest Indiana

Rick Comanse, of East Chicago, talks with Irma Guevara of Mulit-Wall Packaging Corp. about jobs at the company during the annual Community Career Fair presented by the North Township at the Wicker Park Social Center in Highland in 2012. Unemployment rose sharply across the Region last month.

Unemployment shot up sharply across much of Northwest Indiana in June, rising by as much as 0.9 percent in Gary.

Joblessness rose last month to 4.7 percent across the Gary metropolitan area, which encompasses most of Northwest Indiana's population and territory, covering Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties. The unemployment rate in the Gary metro was up from 4.2 percent in May and from 4.5 percent the previous June.

In June, Lake County had the state's third-highest jobless rate of 5 percent, up from 4.5 percent the previous month and much higher than the rest of the state, neighboring Illinois, the rest of the Chicago area and the rest of the country.

LaPorte County ranked eighth out of Indiana's 92 counties at 4.4 percent, which was up from 3.9 percent in May. Unemployment in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro area, which is just LaPorte County, rose to 4.4 percent in June, up from 4 percent in May.

Porter County's unemployment rose to 4 percent, 27th highest in the state and up from 3.6 percent the month prior.

Overall, Indiana's unemployment rate ticked up to 3.3 percent in June, while Illinois' jobless rate held steady at 4.3 percent in June, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The national unemployment rate was 4 percent in June.

Unemployment climbed as high as 12 percent in Northwest Indiana during the depths of the Great Recession a decade ago.

Joblessness rose in every city and town in Northwest Indiana last month, increasing by 0.6 percent in Hammond, East Chicago and Portage and by 0.5 percent in Merrillville.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.